On the transcendental beauty of the outside; art during lockdown

Perhaps during lockdown, with galleries and museums closed to us, we look instead to the city for our art. 

And I mean ‘art’ in the sense of something transcendental: to catapult our imaginations from the everyday. Instead of peering into glass on the walls of old, hushed buildings we look to the bricks and trees immediately before us, into our neighbours’ windows as a different kind of frame. We summon fictions; reflect back our own meaning. In this way, the interiority of our present existence leads to the outside world - the flesh and bone of the city. Here in Edinburgh it’s perhaps not dissimilar - the same grandeur of grey stone, outside not in, the ability of this place to move us; affect the soul somehow. I find myself being surprised often - as if I’d forgotten all this beauty was here the whole time, before lockdown, simultaneously as electric as the bits framed and catalogued as ‘art’. And this special reverence usually sought in galleries and churches, before a small rope barrier and down-lit bulbs, reserved primarily for art museums and prestige and the stiffness of history - can be found on your doorstep, perhaps! A beam of sunlight on a bus stop becomes a masterstroke, one-of-a-kind; a glimmer of foil in the bushes somehow causes your throat to catch. The same hushed wonder exists in most everything I see, as I walk, earphones in and blinking the screen from my eyes, the smells and the brightness and the othering brilliance of it all almost too much to bear.

From my notebook (January 25th - scribbled when I got in from a walk)

Images are: scribbling, moments outside at a similar time

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